Pix of the Week: Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park

“Steady on there! What’s with all this Richmond Park nonsense?” is what you may well be muttering to yourself on seeing this headline. Well, d’you know what, you do actually have a fair point. The pages of twickerati aren’t generally littered with items from ‘over the water’, it’s just not the done thing. This is a Twickenham blog for Twickenham people, but in this case we’ve made an exception. We all love a bit of Richmond Park even if it’s only to admire the view of Twickenham squatting majestically between the river and the A316. The exception we’re making here is to advise you to visit the Isabella Plantation at some point in the next couple of weeks. Just wait for a sunny day and go early or go late but make sure you avoid the crowds.

There’s stuff like this…

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park

And this…

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park

And this…

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park

And this…

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park

The blossom is out. The clock is ticking. What are you waiting for?

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New 20mph Zone in Twickenham

20mph on Heath Road (on both sides)

20mph sign

And we’re off! Or, maybe we aren’t ‘off’. Or, maybe that’s the wrong thing entirely. As usual, what do we know? Well, one thing we do know is that the signs to create a 20mph zone in Twickenham town centre are going up. Having a 20mph limit in the central area is a good idea although there will be those that argue that it’s generally not possible to get much above 20mph anyway. For them, 20mph may be an aspiration rather than a limitation. But along with the 20mph signs on the principal routes are the signs on the side roads to remind drivers that it’s back to a 30mph maximum once you leave the main drag.

The 20mph limit is part of the Twickenham Action Plan. Having the signs close to the centre may not simply slow traffic down, it can also serve as a reminder to drivers that there’s something to slow down for. Whether it has much impact on traffic flow or congestion remains to be seen, if you’re stuck in a queue on Heath Road, Richmond Road or Cross Deep then 20mph might feel like a dream. Either way, we reckon reducing speeds in the busy junction that is Twickenham town centre is a good thing.

What’s a bit more tricky is that once you’re off the main routes then you’re back to the usual 30mph limit. We understand the rationale, namely that if it’s no longer a 20mph zone then drivers need to know but the appearance of these signs seems a tad strange especially when the roads in question are smaller, residential side streets. Do we want drivers to put their foot down (even if it’s subconsciously) once they’ve made a turning into, for example, Queens Road or Grosvenor Road. Surely a 20mph limit throughout a central zone would be more appropriate? And it might even involve fewer signs.

El Brute are amenable to giving consideration to more 20mph zones in the borough but, as we reported previously, it was all a bit less straightforward than you might expect. But the Council have started to give more publicity to the 20mph option and, with the growing profile of 20mph campaigns nationally as well as locally, it might not be too long before LBRuT are rooting around for the Tippex and a black marker pen to change those new 30mph signs into 20s.

And in the meantime, we do have a teeny concern that some of the new signs might not be ‘optimally located’ when viewed against other street furniture and the verdant forested plains of central Twickenham. What do you think?

This seems clear enough!

20mph on Heath Road (on both sides)

20mph on Heath Road (on both sides)

As does this…

New 20mph signs... by crossing

New 20mph signs… by crossing

Ah, so there were traffic lights lurking behind it after all.

So there are lights behind it after all!

So there are lights behind it after all!

Normal service has been resumed… in this residential street

30mph for Queen's Road

30mph for Queen’s Road

And here’s one we hid earlier. It’s time to dig out the pruning shears.

LINKS:
* Previously on twickerati (Is 20 plenty?)
* EL Brute 20 mph page
* 20s Plenty campaign

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Heatham House Improvements

Heatham House Youth Centre

Heatham House Youth Centre

Remember the great Heatham House debate of early 2012 when El Brute (aka LBRuT) asked ‘da kids’ to vote on the future of the centre? At the time the Council were hoping that the youth would opt to ditch HH in favour of a new purpose built, ‘state of the art’ centre which would (probably) have been on somewhere on the Twickenham sorting office site. Despite the Council consultation being worded in a way to strongly suggest that staying in that old building would not be the best option, the voting went in favour of staying put. Cue much discussion about the narrowness of victories, lobbying, etc but, as we know, the Council loves a good ol’ consultation and so it stuck with the majority view. There was even a ‘sour grapes’ press release to confirm that the youth centre would stay where it is.

Two years on and things look a little brighter. El Brute has just announced that it will spend £500,000 on Heatham House to improve facilities there, including tackling the Disability Discrimination Act compliance issues associated with the building. The Council’s website says that the work will include: redesigning the stage to create more floor space; proving a purpose built fitness suite; a new extension which will house an office, reception and social area; new showers and disabled toilet facilities; other equipment and soundproofing upgrades.

Heatham House remains a popular facility with young people in the area and now, with all this money being spent upgrading the building, it looks as if the boutique hotel suggested for the site will just have to wait a little longer.

LINKS:
* El Brute
* Heatham House

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Pic of the Week: Pointer to the Past?

Confused sense of identity

Confused sense of identity

Surely something’s gone a bit awry here? It’s not simply that the Borough of Twickenham no longer exists, that’s not the issue, it’s the combination of a reasonably new sign making reference to a borough which only existed from 1926 to 1965, being used to give a sense of history and tradition to a row of 18th century houses. Eh? In short, the borough status referred to on the sign came 200 years after the construction of the row. Perhaps the residents of Montpelier Row were keen to hark back to the glory days of the mid twentieth century. Or maybe, just maybe, the very original signs for Montpelier Row anticipated the creation of the borough in order to save on the cost of new signs at some future date. Here at twickerati HQ we love a bit of history and tradition but in this case it seems to have got a bit confused. Ah well, what do we know?

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Twickenham Action Plan – Phase 2 Announced

With the regeneration of Twickenham continuing, Richmond Council (aka LBRuT) are now looking further ahead to ensure that, in their words, “the town builds on its recent successes and continues to develop in a way that’s fit for the future”. El Brute’s planning gurus have been thinking big thoughts about what the town should look like by the final years of the next decade. A project, called “Twickenham 2026” is being led by external consultants but has the full support of El Brute. The main challenge they’re looking to solve is how to capitalise on current roads and pavements work whilst accommodating the ever-increasing demand for property and the knock-on effect on school places, traffic and local services. It’s basically phase 2 of the Twickenham Action Plan (aka TWAP2).
Continue reading

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New Sign Planned To Put Twickenham On The Map

Richmond Council will promote the Borough’s various ‘villages’ by using a Hollywood style sign on Richmond Hill. The aim is to increase awareness of the different parts of the borough by erecting 45 foot high letters spelling out the name of each village. Twickenham is first to go and the sign will stay in place for two months before being replaced by Teddington in June. Richmond itself is next in line for the treatment. Plans to follow that with East Sheen have been put back until 2015 as the Council grapple with the thorny problem of how best to represent the space between the words ‘East’ and ‘Sheen’. A consultation on this point will take place and will be followed by an online referendum and a substantial delay.

Of the plans, a Council spokesperson said, “The wonderful view from the top of Richmond Hill is very famous and, quite rightly, protected. This new scheme gives borough residents something to enjoy when looking back up at the Hill. Passengers taking off and landing at Heathrow airport will also be able to see this iconic new landmark and we hope it will encourage new visitors to our towns. At night the lettering will be picked out in green neon. It’s a win win arrangement for the Borough of Richmond”.

The consultation opens on 1st April with full details available on El Brute’s newly revamped website.

So, will this put Richmond on the map or is it just another gimmick? Have your say below.

Another proposal to put Twickenham on the map

Proposal to put Twickenham on the map

UPDATE: In a press release dated 11.59am on 01/04/14 Richmond Council announced that after a backlash from residents on Richmond Hill the plans have now been shelved.

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